Dear Donald, Jr. and Eric Trump: That kudu horn won’t give you an erection

Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., sons to the current United States president, are trophy hunters. Posing with a dead elephant in 2012 may be their greatest claim to fame. At one point, they killed a kudu, pictured above.

So it is kind of ironic that Lara Trump, wife to Eric Trump, is an animal welfare advocate. She supports a number of shelters for unwanted pets.

Given this hypocrisy, one animal rights group is now calling L. Trump out.  NYCLASS, an animal rights advocacy group based in New York, has asked her to stop trophy hunting. Starting with Eric Trump, of course.

Why do men, like eric trump, need to shoot endangered species?

Trophy hunting is rooted in the male ego.  Men struggle to find validation through honest work and long-term relationships. So they shoot animals. Trophy hunters, like Donald, Jr. and Eric Trump, always go for large-brained mammals. Animals who can feel excruciating pain. Elephants, in particular, take hours to die because of their size and strength.

And there is no solid line between trophy hunting and hunting for endangered species. A small percentage of men seek out, kill, and eat endangered species. Some men shoot rhinos so they can grind up the horn and eat it. They think it gives them a good erection. Obviously, there’s no science to this. Some people think that kudu horns possess similar properties. Basically, endangered animals are being killed for hard ons.

Let me make this very clear. A kudu horn will not give Eric Trump, or anyone else, a hard on.

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Norway thinks we’re the shithole

waters-3022419_960_720.jpgLet’s take a look at whether Norwegians would actually like to immigrate to the United States. By all usual measures, especially education, healthcare, and the prison system, it appears Norwegians have a higher standard of living than we do.

A little research into Norway’s animal welfare code shows that Norwegians are way ahead of us in animal rights. Norwegians are compelled by law to report or aid an animal in distress. Here’s a quote from the code: “Anybody who discovers an animal which is obviously sick, injured, or helpless, shall as far as possible help the animal. If it is impossible to provide adequate help, and the animal is domestic or a large wild mammal, the owner, or the police shall be alerted immediately.”

When I met my dog, Alice, she was dying of combined malnutrition and exhaustion in my back yard, and my neighbor, Kenny, was stabbing her with a broom stick.

“Kenny, what are you doing?” my husband asked.

“This dog has mange,” Kenny said, while he continued to assault her.

“But she’s on our side of the fence,” my husband said.

Finally, we got Kenny to desist. But then we had to do something. U.S. law apparently says we can allow her to turn into compost. But that kind of chafes at our personal standards. We called animal control and were told that they won’t collect a suffering animal “unless it bites someone.”

Long story short: Somewhere on the way to the vet’s office, my husband fell in love with this dog that had half her fur. She’s long recovered and snuggling on our bed, as I write this. We named her Alice.

But when I look at the infrastructure for animal welfare in my country, I’m forced to ask, under my breath, “Am I living in a shithole country?” And why would any Norwegian want to come here?

 

Energy audits are cool

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Some people have a hard time connecting their home’s energy efficiency with animal rights.

But, it might be the case that the best thing you can do for animals is: Improve your home’s energy efficiency. Traditional energy usage causes climate change which leads to the extinction of animals. Animals currently at risk from climate change are polar bears, migratory birds, monarch butterflies, and most frogs, snakes, and other reptiles.

Energy audits typically involve a door blower test that tells you where the cold air is coming into your house. Our energy auditor, Keith Crumes, was the bomb. And we got our energy audit for only $25 through LG&E’s energy rebates program.

Unfortunately, Louisville, Kentucky’s local energy company, LG&E, is phasing out its energy efficiency incentives. Would you please sign my petition to ask LG&E to continue this extremely worthwhile program? Thank you for your support.

The health benefits of trees

By Lynn Hamilton

Most people want to live on a green leafy street with plenty of tree canopy, whether they live in the suburbs, the country, or the inner city.

But now it’s official: a greener street makes you healthier. Omid Kardan, a professor and researcher with the University of Chicago, conducted a survey of residents in Toronto, comparing the health of those who live on tree-rich streets to the health of those on streets more barren of trees.

The results might surprise you. Even in a big city like Toronto, residents in leafier parts of town reported better health. Specifically, their blood pressure was lower, and they were more likely to have a healthy weight. Blood sugar issues, such as overly high glucose, were also fewer in the tree covered streets.

That’s significant because high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity lead to a host of major health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, kidney failure, and liver failure, to mention the most problematic. Obesity, in particular, is a frequent predictor of death.

As we know, better health leads to a longer life. But it also gives you more energy and zest for day-to-day living. As few as ten additional trees on a city block give its residents a health boost equivalent to being seven years younger.

There are any number of ways that trees in a residential neighborhood can affect health. They trap pollution that might otherwise find its way into a home. Trees absorb noxious particulates as well as gasses. In 2010, a forester by the name of Dave Nowak found that trees prevented over 600,000 cases of respiratory distress and prevented at least 850 deaths in the United States.

Trees also reduce the chances of flooding and the myriad of health problems that arise from a flooded basement, such as mold and toxic bacteria. They reduce summer heat and encourage people to get outside and take a stroll or a run around the neighborhood. People who get such moderate exercise are more likely to be healthy, maintain a normal weight, and live longer, happier lives.

The recent Toronto study filtered out variables such as diet, age, income, and education. Kardan admits, of course, that he can’t screen out every variable. It could be the case that healthier people choose to live on more tree-lined blocks. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to ignore his findings. And they are backed up by other studies.

Researchers in Japan studied the effects of time spent on Yakushima island, a locale known for its rich biodiversity and lovely tree canopy. These Japanese scientists found that trees and other plants throw off beneficial bacteria and oils that we inhale. When these beneficial elements enter our systems, they fight off toxins and malevolent bacteria that can, otherwise, make us sick.

New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation offers some further observations on the link between trees and human health. The beneficial bacteria that trees exude is called phytoncides. They are a sort of natural insect repellant. Trees throw off phytoncides to discourage termites and other tree-destroying organisms from dining on the trees’ trunks.

Because of these phytoncides, even a short, three-day stay in a forest increases the number of beneficial white blood cells, also known as “natural killer cells,” in a person’s body. The presence of these white blood cells improves a person’s immunity to disease and infection.

Admittedly, much of the benefit people derive from trees is psychological and emotional. But it is also well known that our mood and emotions directly impact health. Stress causes a whole list of negative health concerns including hypertension, accelerated heart rate, and overeating. Increased rates of cortisol and adrenaline in the bloodstream have been linked to stress. A walk in the woods or a stroll down a tree lined street definitely alleviates stress and increases a sense of well being, while providing very real and physiological health benefits. And you don’t have to hike in a remote, old-growth forest to reap the results. Even looking at pictures of trees is calming, though not as beneficial as a walk in a leafy neighborhood.

Trees are especially meaningful to children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD typically find it difficult to concentrate, and they often do poorly in school because they lack an ability to focus. For decades, children diagnosed with ADHD were routinely put on one or more drugs to help them succeed academically and socially.

Scientists and doctors now believe, however, that spending time among trees is a tremendous help in alleviating the symptoms of ADHD. Such therapy has the advantage of being affordable and it doesn’t have the inevitable side effects of pharmacological treatment. Schools that are built near a small forest or which incorporate a forested area in their construction have the potential to greatly help students with ADHD.

You might be surprised to learn that trees are beneficial to hospital patients, especially people who have experienced a serious illness or undergone major surgery. Hospital patients suffer not just from the complications of their illness, but also from stress, lack of privacy, and fear. Even a view of trees out a hospital window can make a positive difference in a patient’s recovery. Patients with a view of greenery have fewer postoperative complications, science has discovered. They also have shorter hospital stays and don’t need as many addictive pain medications.

The United States had an unfortunate occasion for studying the impact of trees on health. Since 2002, the emerald ash borer, a tree destroying beetle, has devastated the country’s ash trees. Studies found that, in neighborhoods where ash trees had to be removed, there was a serious spike in lung disease- and heart disease-related mortality.

In fact, the Atlantic reports that trees are so important to human health, they save Americans $6.8 billion dollars in health care per year.

More research is definitely needed on the relationship between trees and human health. But, in the meantime, one of the best things you can do for your family and your neighborhood is to plant a tree.

 

 

Fabulous flying foxes are going extinct

FLYING FOXESYou may have caught the “Bill Nye Saves the World” segment on flying foxes. The featured scientist who studies them calls them “sky pups” because some of them look surprisingly like dogs. Others look like, well, foxes with wings. Their faces and necks are covered with reddish fur and they have small pointed ears characteristic of foxes, along with big, smooth wings. They look like foxes and, when resting, pose like Nosferatu, their wings closed around them like a cape. That’s the look of the Mauritian flying fox, also known as the fruit bat.

Mauritius flying foxes might have a chance at survival, except that their government keeps culling them–in the thousands. Approximately every two years, the government authorizes a “cull,” euphemistic word for mass slaughter, of flying foxes because they eat a few farmed mangoes. Farmers are perfectly capable of protecting their crops with sealed nets. But it appears they prefer to slaughter thousands of innocent mammals instead.

Unfortunately, all flying foxes live on islands, and all of them are going extinct. In Australia, laws have been enacted to curb hunting of these animals, but invasive species are still decimating them.

The foxy island dwellers have nowhere to go when they are threatened by hunting or habitat loss. Their boundaries are the seas that surround them. And flying foxes are the original inhabitants of the islands they dwell on. When humans landed on Australia’s Christmas Island, there were all of five endemic species. Humans and the exotic species they introduced, quickly dispatched four. The only original inhabitants are the flying foxes, and they are quickly disappearing.

Please sign my petition asking the Mauritian government to make the culling and hunting of flying foxes illegal.

 

 

Badass Nuns Assume the Lead on Climate Action

By Lynn Hamilton

In the sleepy town of Nazareth, Kentucky, a revolution is brewing. And it’s led by a band of women in their eighties.

Nazareth is the headquarters of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Their mission has spread from Kentucky to Belize, Nepal, Botswana, and India where the SCN have established missions, schools, and hospitals.

It will come as no surprise, especially to Catholics, that these sisters have dedicated themselves to the betterment of the poor. What came as a surprise to me was that they now consider the earth to be one of the poor.

You heard right. The Sisters realize the earth is about as desperate as a homeless drug addict. Cataclysmic floods, loss of crops, and loss of endangered species are all predicted outcomes of climate change.  Though their average age in the United States is 82, these sisters know climate change is real, and they are taking action.

That’s why they have declared their intent to make all their residences, schools, hospitals, and other services, worldwide, carbon neutral in the years to come. Their goals for sustainability put most multi-national corporations to shame.

“They’re pretty badass,” says Carolyn Comer, the woman hired by the Sisters to be their Director of Ecological Sustainability.

At a recent meeting of the Louisville Sustainability Forum, Comer explained how the Sisters became radicalized.

It started in 1995 when they got together to create a mission statement. Part of that statement was “care for the earth.”

In time, that commitment manifested as solar panels on the Nazareth campus, energy efficient windows on their historic buildings, and on-demand water heaters. Having done their research, they are buying electric zero turn motor lawn mowers, which are the lawnmower equivalents of a Tesla.

They are in the process of converting all their lighting, both inside and out, to LED lighting. In India, they practice water capture and sequester cow manure for conversion to biogas, with which they cook their meals. They also harvest and use rainwater. One of their hospitals in India is seventy percent powered by solar energy, captured in batteries.

In July, the sisters got together again. And this time they decided that caring for the earth meant they needed to get to zero green house gas emissions. They plan to get there by 2037 in the United States and Belize, and 2047 in the other countries. Comer notes that this goal is aligned both with United Nations recommendations on addressing climate change and with the Paris Agreement.

In addition to that ambitious goal, the sisters are also going zero waste. And that required an assessment of their trash. “We opened up trash cans and weighed things,” said Comer.

They have established recycling stations for eight categories of waste. And they’re brainstorming how to establish composting in individual sisters’ apartments.

One of the order’s resources is its many acres of land, located in missions across five countries. They are sowing native plants, which benefit wildlife, birds, and bees. They are restoring vegetative buffers on their lakes and streams. And they are looking into creating conservation easements to protect natural resources on their land for perpetuity.

“They walk the talk in a way that is really humbling,” says Comer.

The SCN’s “green team” is a subgroup of nuns particularly passionate about fulfilling their zero emission goals. They engaged the University of Kentucky to teach them how to conduct their own energy audits. Once these audits are complete, the goal is to look at the order’s energy consumption and ask “How can we . . . winnow that down?” Comer says.

None of this is pie in the sky. The sisters are well aware that transportation, the leading contributor to climate change, poses an obstacle. They drive an average of 6000 miles a year, each.

That’s not a lot of mileage, comparatively, but “there are a lot of them,” Comer observes. They’ve bought one all-electric vehicle and one plug-in hybrid, and they’re learning to drive them.

“Really, this is where everyone needs to be,” says Comer.

The nuns’ revolution, however, depends on a revolution in airplane technology. These are, after all, flying nuns. But not the Sally Field kind. They fly in fossil fuel-consuming jets. They can’t realize their goals for mitigating climate change until there is a radical new technology for travel.

I guess this is where the faith comes in. I’m not the only one praying for new technology that will let us travel from coast to coast without sacrificing our morality. I know Ed Begley, Jr. prays for that. So, I assume, do the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

Science will need to step up to the plate, too. Come on now, y’all. Don’t let eighty year old nuns do all the work of saving the world.

Dogs can do a lot more than roll in the grass, so don’t use pesticides

We all know that dogs can do things humans can’t. Like track down murderers from a single whiff of their shirt. And, if you watch cop shows, you probably know that dogs can detect drug shipments and guns.

If you rely on one or more dogs to keep your home safe while you’re away, you’re smart. Dogs are still the best security system. Most burglars are simply looking for an easy target, and that big barking dog with her paws on the door just made your house not worth it.

You might know that dogs can be trained to predict seizures in epileptic children and adults, saving lives. But did you know that dogs can be trained to detect bedbugs?

Sadly enough, dogs can predict when an industrial environment is toxic to humans. When dogs start getting lymphoma, there’s a chance to save the humans in the same neighborhood. You see, dogs will develop cancer in response to toxins much more quickly than we will.

Dogs truly are man’s best friend in many ways. But if you have a dog, you have a responsibility to maintain an organic lawn. The chemicals in lawn pesticides have been linked to cancer in dogs and possibly humans.

Today’s action calls for dog owners to go organic on their own property and talk with your dog-owning neighbors about the dangers of lawn chemicals.

Dogs facts and information – Dogs can do a lot more than roll in the grass, so don’t use pesticides

We all know that dogs can do things humans can’t. Like track down murderers from a single whiff of their shirt. And, if you watch cop shows, you probably know that dogs can detect drug shipments and guns.

If you rely on one or more dogs to keep your home safe while you’re away, you’re smart. Dogs are still the best security system. Most burglars are simply looking for an easy target, and that big barking dog with her paws on the door just made your house not worth it.

You might know that dogs can be trained to predict seizures in epileptic children and adults, saving lives. But did you know that dogs can be trained to detect bedbugs?

Sadly enough, dogs can predict when an industrial environment is toxic to humans. When dogs start getting lymphoma, there’s a chance to save the humans in the same neighborhood. You see, dogs will develop cancer in response to toxins much more quickly than we will.

Dogs truly are man’s best friend in many ways. But if you have a dog, you have a responsibility to maintain an organic lawn. The chemicals in lawn pesticides have been linked to cancer in dogs and possibly humans.

Today’s action calls for dog owners to go organic on their own property and talk with your dog-owning neighbors about the dangers of lawn chemicals.

Britain admits animals feel pain

Great Britain’s Michael Gove has admitted that animals can feel pain and “enshrined” that into law, according to all major UK news vehicles.

Gove, the UK’s environment secretary, has been widely photographed with a white fluffy dog in his arms.

This happened because animal rights advocates got a whiff that British Parliament was getting ready to jettison a European Union law that recognizes animal sentience.

Admittedly, the European Union law is foundational for preventing animal cruelty, but it does almost nothing to protect wild animals from loss of habitat.

Nevertheless, animal rights champions should support the new bill while continuing to ask for more stringent protections of animals.

What you can do

Read the bill here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/666576/draft-animal-welfare-bill-171212.pdf

Write to the team who are taking public comment on this issue. Here is the snail mail address:

Animal Welfare Team, Area 5B, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR

If you live in the UK, please take this survey to support the Animal Welfare Bill:  2018:https://consult.defra.gov.uk/animal-health-and-welfare/consultation-on-the-animal-welfare-bill/